Thursday, April 10, 2008

Spontaneous Crafting For my race-car crazy little dude

A couple of years ago, my nephew went through a major NASCAR phase. He would only play with toy cars that had numbers on them, he knew every car/driver/sponsor, and my sister was DVRing races so he could watch them on demand.

I relentlessly teased my sister. We are so not NASCAR folks, and it was hilarious to see her spouting off about Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and the like.

I should have known that would come around to bite me in the ass. Now it's my son's turn to be obsessed with all things NASCAR. He's the one refusing to touch a car that is without numbers. He's the one asking to watch races on tv 24/7, and I'm the one who knows who Jeff Gordan is and what number his car is (24, if you care.)

It came as no surprise, then, that my son requested all the tracks be removed from our playroom train table so he could use it as a race track. For months, he's been gliding his cars over the faux landscape that adorns the train table pretending it's a race track. Finally, I gave in and offered to pop the panels out, flip them over and transform them into a true race track.

Earlier this week (before my guts got wrecked by some mystery illness) we had a sunny afternoon with no plans. The kids were restless, and I knew I wouldn't be getting any work done. I finally threw my hands up and said, "We're moving things out side." On the spur of the moment, I dug out my acrylic craft paints, lugged the panels outside to the backyard, and declared the race track transformation would be completed that night. It was a little ambitious, but armed with my disdain for perfection, I set to work.

I didn't sand (couldn't find the sandpaper), didn't prime (didn't have any primer) and didn't have much of a plan. I grabbed the kids' little table off the porch, flipped it upside down on top of the panels and used the circle as the template for the track. Other than that, I just winged it. I knew if it came out truly hideous I could always just flip the panels back over.

I was actually able to get it mostly done by dinner, and finished the rest after the kids were in bed. When Ben came downstairs the next morning, he was so stoked about the table I could hardly get him to stand still so I could take his picture. Since then, if he's awake and in the house, he's playing on the track. He hasn't commented on the total inconsistency in the size, length and placement of the road marks. He doesn't seem to care that the Piston Cup I painted in the "middle" of the table is completely off center (and not in a cool, graphic way) and
he hasn't complained that there isn't an actual "start" line.

Spontaneous crafting is such a blast. Going in to a project with no plan can often leave you truly, pleasantly surprised with the end result. Sure, it's not the way to go on every project, but sometimes you just need to jump on to an idea and run with it. How many projects have you thought about, but not started because you haven't been able to "plan" them accordingly?

What could you get done by dinner tonight?


  1. That's so funny! I come from a huge NASCAR family (dad raced, grandfather raced, uncles either raced or were on pit crews, mom writes nascar books and nascar talk radio host, the list goes on and on!) so I am quite the well-rounded crafter! sketching up fashion while watching the race on sundays, quite challenging culturally!! Kudos on the mini-track :)

  2. manic - that is so cool! See, what I love about having my kids is that they get me to like things I otherwise wouldn't have taken the time to learn about.

    I got to take my son to see a "real live" NASCAR car that was on display recently, and I thought it was just as cool as he did.

    So cool about your family! Pit Crew folks amaze me.

    See, seriously, I *never* thought I'd be this in to NASCAR> It's hilarious. :)

  3. Wow, what a great idea and done so fast! I'm going to have to keep this in mind a few years from now ;)

  4. "What could you get done by dinner tonight?"

    HAHAHA! I'm hoping to get DINNER done by dinner tonight. ;)

  5. Rachel that's so funny. I wonder if that's next for my kids. Caulin is a train fanatic, I can't imagine him switching but who knows.

    Great job you did there! WTG


  6. what an awesome idea!
    your ARE the coolest mom!
    i love the idea of flipping the panels, that way he has the best of both worlds!

    my son also LOVES race cars and trains. he's always transitioning between the two.

  7. that is SO awesome! what a lucky little guy!

  8. Okay, I'm now doing the Wayne's World "We're Not Worthy" worship/bow.

  9. OH NO! Am I going to have a kid that's into NASCAR?!?!? My sister is obsessed and I pick on her all of the time. It has never occured to me that it could come back to haunt me. Your post really hit home.


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